There are multiple two-letter acronyms, all imbued with a huge capacity to change the tech game: AI, ML, AR, and VR.

Read any kind of predictions article for 2018, and you are bound to find at least one two-letter acronym. The ‘big four’ are:

AI – artificial intelligence
ML – machine learning
AR – augmented reality
VR – virtual reality

There is, of course, considerable overlap between these four, and they can also be used in combination to produce new experiences for consumers or customers.

But for the moment, let’s keep them separate and consider how each one could be used in business, especially in retail, over the next few years to ‘change the world’.

Are Two Letter Acronyms Changing the World?

Artificial intelligence has been around for a while, and is closely linked to machine learning. It describes computers that can act, or seem to act, intelligently. One of the biggest possible uses in retail is in online or post-sales customer service, particularly through chatbots.

The use of chatbots has focused on standardising service provision, and freeing up human time to concentrate on more complex interactions. The cynic in me sees a commercial benefit in reducing labor costs, but there is also no doubt that early use cases, often in banking, involve human–machine partnership, with humans having to step in quickly when the conversation gets complex.

This, therefore, has been about improving customer experience without increasing costs, rather than reducing costs. There is no doubt that #AI involve human–machine partnership, with humans having to step in quickly when the conversation gets complex.

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